Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

CLE on Taxes in Estate Administration

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a teleconference entitled, Taxes in Estate Administration, on Thursday, December 27, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description
Discover how to reduce tax burdens in estate administration
Gain practical tools for managing the tax liability of the decedent and the estate and learn how to accurately complete and properly file all the necessary returns to make certain the estate closing is on time. Clarify all deadlines and request extensions. Enhance your estate administration practices - register today!
Get an update on the current tax rates, exemptions and deductions.
Understand when and how to report the tax basis of assets in estate administration.
Learn when asset valuation is needed and how to conduct it properly.
Get practical tips for completing the decedent's and estate's income tax returns.
Find out how to claim portability for clients and tackle other estate, gift and GST tax issues.

Who Should Attend
This tax course is designed for attorneys. It will also benefit accountants, tax professionals, trust officers, estate planners, and paralegals.

Course Content

  • Current Tax Rates and Exemptions
  • Understanding Tax Basis and Step-Up at Administration
  • Tax Issues in Distribution to Minors and Trusts
  • Accurate and Inclusive Valuation of Assets
  • Decedent's Final Income Tax Returns: Forms, Deadlines, Filing, Supporting Docs
  • Estate's Income Tax Returns: Forms, Deadlines, Filing, Supporting Docs
  • Tax on Income Earned by Estate After Decedent's Death
  • Estate Tax: Portability, Elective Share, Disclaimers and More
  • How the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Affects the Estate and the Heirs
  • Sales of Real Property

December 11, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 10, 2018

A Year-End Estate and Financial Planning Checklist: Make Your List and Check it Twice

NyeWith so much going on during the holiday season, it may seem more stressful to think about review your estate plan. Here is a simplified list to assist, and not interfere with presents and champagne.

  1. Review required minimum distributions (RMDs).
    1. Those 70½ or older must take RMDs from certain retirement accounts by December 31 or face a penalty equal to 50%.
  2. Reduce taxable income and rebalance investments.
    1. Review your asset allocation and, if necessary, rebalance your investment portfolio.
  3. Max out company retirement plan contributions.
    1. If you are not able to contribute the maximum amount, try to contribute enough to qualify for any matching contributions by your employer.
  4. Review insurance coverage.
    1. Make sure you have adequate policies in place insuring everything you need, from your life to assets, to help plan against the unexpected.
  5. Review estate plans and beneficiary designations.
    1. These should be reviewed  periodically to be sure that the plan you have in place accomplishes your goals
  6. Make gifts.
    1. The annual exclusion is $15,000 per person before it counts against your lifetime exclusion.
  7. Fund your Health Savings Account (HSA).
    1. Those in high-deductible health-insurance plans can save as much as $3,450 in pre-tax dollars in these types of accounts. Those aged 65 and older cannot contribute to one, but can still use the money for eligible out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  8. Use your flexible spending dollars.
    1. Unused funds in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) are typically forfeited at year’s end, so  spend them for eligible health and medical expenses by December 31
  9. Check your credit and identity.
    1. With technology, checking your credit has become easier.
  10. Organize your records for 2019.
    1. Gather and organize the documents and 2018 records that will be needed to prepare your tax returns in 2019, and shred what you do not need.

See A Year-End Estate and Financial Planning Checklist: Make Your List and Check it Twice, The National Law Review, December 6, 2018.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.

December 10, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 7, 2018

CLE on Estate Planning 101: What You Need to Know About the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

CLEThe American Bar Association is holding a webcast entitled, Estate Planning 101: What You Need to Know About the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, on Wednesday, December 12, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Provided below is a description of the event.

This new legislation changes the landscape for trust and estate planning opportunities for many individuals. These major changes will greatly reduce or eliminate the tax liability for those transferring wealth.

Our panel will:

  • Planning for increased exemptions
  • Drafting new and reviewing old trusts
  • Income tax changes
  • Impact on IRA planning
  • Impact on planning for charitable gifts

December 7, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

CLE on IRA Trusts: RMDs and Ensuring the Stretch

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a teleconference entitled, IRA Trusts: RMDs and Ensuring the Stretch, on Thursday, December 20, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Central. Provided below is description of the event:

Program Description
Ensure Clients Make the Most of Inherited IRAs
This focused course offers practical strategies for ensuring the inherited IRAs last as long as possible and comply with the RMD rules. Learn IRA trust drafting tactics and planning approaches to maximize the stretch, ensure asset protection, and minimize tax burdens. Register today!
Choose the most beneficial IRA trust structure and decide whether subtrusts are needed.
Get sample powers of appointment language that ensures the longevity of the trust.
Plan distributions to ensure RMD rules compliance.

Who Should Attend
This program is designed for attorneys. It will also benefit accountants, CPAs, and trust officers.

Course Content
How the Mechanics of the Retirement Account Shapes the IRA Strategy
Ensuring the Stretch: Beneficiary Designations, Individuals vs. Trusts, and More
Structuring the IRA Trusts and Subtrusts: Asset Protection and Tax Tactics
Drafting Powers of Appointment That Ensure the Longevity and Health of the Trust
Effective Approaches to Ongoing Compliance with the RMD Rules

December 6, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Article on The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) and Its Impact on Investors, Their Trusts, Investment Entities, Retirement Plans and Estates -- Part 1 Tax Reform for Individuals

TaxlawDean Marsan recently published an Article entitled, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) and Its Impact on Investors, Their Trusts, Investment Entities, Retirement Plans and Estates -- Part 1 Tax Reform for Individuals, Tax Law: Tax Law & Policy eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

This article is the first of three parts (Part 1) and examines the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and its impact on investors and their investment entities, retirement plans, trusts and estates and also tracks its legislative history through Congress. This article focuses on the tax reform's impact on individuals and the second article submitted to SSRN discusses business tax reform (Part 2) and compensation reforms (Part 3).

December 4, 2018 in Articles, Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Valuable Estate Lessons from the Passing of George and Barbara Bush

BushPresident George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away earlier this week. His death occurred a mere 8 months after his wife of 73 years, Barbara, died. While it may appear to be a romantic ending to their decades long relationship, the short time between their deaths can raise issues for their beneficiaries and make the estates' administrations more difficult.

“The statistics are high especially for older couples who had close marriages, dependent on each other,” says Paula Leibovitz Goodwin, partner in the Personal Planning Group at Perkins Coie LLP in San Francisco. While the quick succession of spouses' deaths is quite common, the time between can be critical as some survivorship provisions may require that a spouse survive for a specific amount of time. If the timing is close, for example less than two weeks apart, the two estates may be able to be probated contemporaneously.

This type of provision would not have benefited the Bushes. Reading the documents of both of the spouses carefully is vital to determine exactly how the assets would flow. “Does the estate pass from 1st spouse who died to survivor, and then from survivor to others, or does 1st spouse’s assets pass to their next level beneficiaries and surviving spouse’s assets pass to their next level beneficiaries?" Goodwin says.

With certain accounts, the other spouse is named beneficiary and others as contingent beneficiaries. If death occurs in quick succession, the second spouse to die likely had not yet rolled the first’s retirement account into their own account with beneficiaries. This would cause the retirement account to pass to probate with the first spouse's estate.

See Megan Gorman, Valuable Estate Lessons from the Passing of George and Barbara Bush, Forbes, December 3, 2018.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.

December 4, 2018 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 3, 2018

Article on Constructive Trusteeship: The Perils of Statutory Formulae

MarshallDarryn Jensen published an Article entitled, Constructive Trusteeship: The Perils of Statutory Formulae, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

This paper evaluates the provisions concerning constructive trusteeship in Trusts Act 1994 (Marshall Islands) and makes more general observations about the roles of constructive trusts in litigation involving trustees' breaches of duty, the roles of statute law and the risk inherent in attempts to express complex and multi-faceted private law concepts in statutory formulae.

 

December 3, 2018 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 30, 2018

Call for papers for Modern Studies in the Law of Trusts and Wealth Management 2019

Call for papersThe third conference in the “Modern Studies in the Law of Trusts and Wealth Management” series will take place on 1 & 2nd August 2019 at the Supreme Court, Singapore.  The 2019 conference will be co-organised by the Singapore Academy of Law, the Centre for Cross-Border Commercial Law in Asia Singapore Management University, and the University of York with the support of Trust Law International.

The theme of the conference is “Asian Wealth and the Global Context”. Like its predecessors, the conference will focus on current developments and challenges facing trust law and wealth management in the contemporary political climate, with particular emphasis on the issues raised by the growth of Asian wealth, and the global context in which that is happening.  The conveners of the conference (Richard Nolan (York), Tang Hang Wu (SMU) and Yip Man (SMU)) plan to produce a published volume from papers presented at this conference, and, possibly, a journal special issue. The confirmed speakers include Chan Ee Lin (Deloitte), Thomas Gallanis (Iowa), Jamie Glister (Cambridge), Lusina Ho (HKU), Adam Hofri-Winogradow (Hebrew), Arif Jamal (NUS), James Lee (KCL), Lou Jianbo (Peking), John Mee (Cork), Kelvin Low (CityU/SMU), Tamaruya Masayuki (Rikkyo), Jessica Palmer (Otago), David Pollard (Wilberforce Chambers, London), Tang Hang Wu (SMU), Graham Virgo QC (Cambridge), Yip Man (SMU) and Simone Wong (Kent).

There are some further slots for presenters and the conference organisers are pleased to consider offers for papers. The conference organisers are negotiating with a leading publishing house to produce a book comprising some of the papers presented at the conference. Trust Law International has also agreed to come on board as an official publication for some of the conference papers. Papers presented at the conference will be considered for the book (subject to adherence to the theme and space considerations) and the special issue of the journal (subject to the usual refereeing process and the editors’ discretion).

Presenters from the general call for papers will be expected to meet their own travel costs and to pay the conference registration fee of S$500 (excluding Goods and Services Tax of 7%). Unfortunately, the conference organisers do not have any funding to help meet cost of travel or the registration fee.  The organisers are particularly keen to hear from Asian, women and young scholars in the field. If you would like to offer a paper, please submit a working title and an abstract (of no more than 1500 words) by 28 February 2019 by email to all three of us: Richard Nolan (richard.nolan@york.ac.uk), Tang Hang Wu (hwtang@smu.edu.sg) and Yip Man (manyip@smu.edu.sg ).  Acceptance will be on a rolling basis and the organisers will be grateful for early submissions.

If you would like to attend the conference as a delegate, the conference registration fee is S$700 (excluding Goods and Services Tax of 7%). Please connect with Teh Y-Lyn (teh_y-lyn@sal.org.sg) from the Singapore Academy of Law to indicate your interest and she will gladly give you further information and assist you with registration and other details.

November 30, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Scholarship, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Article on Estate Law--Balancing the Competing Interests of Efficiency, Finality, and Freedom of Disposition in Ancillary Administration Proceedings: Lon V. Smith Foundation v. Devon Energy Corp., 2017 WY 121, 403 P.3d 997 (Wyo. 2017)

WyKaylee Harmon recently published a Case Note entitled, Estate Law--Balancing the Competing Interests of Efficiency, Finality, and Freedom of Disposition in Ancillary Administration Proceedings: Lon V. Smith Foundation v. Devon Energy Corp, 2017 WY 121, 403 P.3d 997 (Wyo. 2017), 18 Wyo. L. Rev. 379-406 (2018). Provided below is the introduction of the Case Note.

Although you cannot take it with you when you go, American succession laws permit the next best thing—the power to decide who will receive your possessions when you are gone. This notion of fulfilling donative intent permeates American probate laws, and its breadth is nearly unparalleled by any other modern legal system. Policymakers have gone to great lengths to ensure that probate procedures accommodate the freedom of disposition, only permitting outright restraints in certain limited circumstances. So, testators can rest easy knowing their property will be dispersed according to their wishes, right? Unfortunately, there may still be cause for concern. Over time, states have unwittingly undermined donative intent by attempting to balance the freedom of  disposition with other interests. This has called into question the legitimacy of the American premise that “freedom of disposition is paramount and the courts have no power to deviate from a person’s will.”

The Wyoming Supreme Court recently grappled with this dilemma in the context of ancillary probate administration. In Lon V. Smith Foundation v. Devon Energy Corp., the Wyoming Supreme Court settled a controversy between named beneficiaries as to the rightful ownership of certain Wyoming real property listed within a testator’s will. The dispute resolution focused primarily on a determination of which instrument—the testator’s will or a conflicting foreign decree adopted during ancillary probate administration proceedings—governed the disposition of the estate’s assets. This case presented an opportunity for the Wyoming Supreme Court to examine the interplay between Wyoming’s interest in upholding the freedom of disposition and the efficient operation of ancillary probate proceedings under Wyoming Statute § 2-11-201.T he court ultimately concluded that the foreign probate decree adopted by the Natrona County District Court pursuant to Wyoming Statute § 2-11-201 controlled the distribution of Wyoming real property, notwithstanding the decree’s failure to distribute the real property in accordance with the testator’s will.

This case note examines concerns stemming from the operation of Wyoming ancillary probate statutes as seen through the Wyoming Supreme Court’s holding. It first provides a brief description of the history behind Wyoming probate laws, followed by a discussion of the ancillary administration proceedings available in Wyoming. Next, it gives a summary of the facts, holding, and analysis in Lon V. Smith Foundation v. Devon Energy Corp. It argues the court’s holding in Lon V. Smith Foundation was correct based upon the present language of Wyoming Statute § 2-11-201 and general probate principles. However, this case note further argues that Wyoming Statute § 2-11-201, as applied, incorrectly favors efficiency at the expense of accurately fulfilling the testator’s intent. Finally, this case note examines the legislative response to the principal case’s application of Wyoming Statute § 2-11-201 and proposes an amendment to the statute.

November 24, 2018 in Articles, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

CLE on Ownership of Cooperative Apartments and Condominiums by Trusts: An Overview of Popular Trusts and Obtaining Transfer Approval from Cooperative Boards

CLEThe New York City Bar is holding a webcast entitled, Ownership of Cooperative Apartments and Condominiums by Trusts: An Overview of Popular Trusts and Obtaining Transfer Approval from Cooperative Boards, on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Provided below is a description of the event:

This course presents an overview of estate planning under the 2017 Tax Reform Act and its temporary doubling of the Federal estate, gift and generation-skipping tax exemptions. It covers the more common types of trusts and trends in transfer requests for permission to transfer apartments to such trusts, including Grantor Trusts, Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts and Dynasty Trusts. It describes the tax attributes of these trusts and why some trusts are more effective, as a result of recent tax changes and the current interest rate environment. It forecasts which trusts will likely be more popular under the 2017 Tax Reform Act.

The program will discuss the role of counsel to coop boards in reviewing these requests and how practitioners can structure their trusts to increase the likelihood of approval. It will also address cooperative and condominium requirements when owning an apartment in a trust. Specifically, the speakers will discuss what documents will be reviewed, whether attorneys’ opinion letters will be necessary and whether buildings require ancillary documents such as guaranty, occupancy agreement or escrow.

November 20, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)